FROM Darrell Steinberg
Where Is $9 Billion in Unused Bonds? Governor Brown says, "Caution is not really the right path" when it comes to creating jobs and stimulating the economy. He wants President Obama to invest in sewers, schools and roads, just as Franklin Roosevelt did during the Great Depression. LA Times columnist George Skelton says , "Brown can look right under his nose and find $9 billion for thousands of paychecks."
Letting Cities Raise Their Own Taxes California's $25 billion budget gap will be partly closed by $12 billion in spending cuts passed by the Assembly and Senate. Republicans have refused to allow a statewide vote on a $12 billion tax increase to make up the rest. Now the President Pro Tem of the State Senate, Democrat Darrell Steinberg, has introduced a plan to allow cities, counties and school districts to raise taxes on their own.
Will California Ever Get a Budget? This year's legislative session is about to come to an end, with the state budget two months overdue and likely to remain so. Governor Schwarzenegger has already said it may have to wait until his successor is sworn in next year.
$40 Billion Hole in State Budget Stays Empty California faces a $40 billion deficit over the next two years, but in a few weeks it will run out of money to pay for operating expenses. Governor Schwarzenegger says new taxes are needed, but Republicans in the legislature won't go along. Democrats have a majority, but not enough to provide the two-thirds vote required for new taxes. They have been negotiating with Schwarzenegger on an $18 billion stop-gap, but today talks broke down. We get an update and learn more about the "dysfunctionality" of California government.
Replacing Obamacare: Now you see it… now you don’t As the Senate deliberates replacing Obmacare, health coverage for millions of people is at stake. There've been no public hearings, and a draft measure won't be made public. Is the House version so unpopular that that Senate is hiding a version that looks much the same?
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?